Too many people still believe the urban myth that you can sketch your idea on a napkin, and people will throw money at you. Fundraising is indeed brutally tough at all stages, and the seed funding is the hardest to find.
The new hot topic for entrepreneurs the last couple of years is crowdfunding, which is anticipated to at least supplement, if not replace, the slow and mysterious process of current Angel and venture capital investors. The problem is that crowdfunding means something different to everyone, and even I have been confused by the different ways the term gets used.
Every investor expects to see some business traction, both before and after a funding event. If you have been working 20 hours a day, and spent your last dollar, but have no results to show, investors will be sympathetic, but will probably tell you that your dream doesn’t have wheels. Traction means forward progress.
Some aspiring entrepreneurs are so desperate for funding, or naïve, that they ignore the obvious signs of scams and rip-offs on the Internet, praying for a windfall. One would think that with all the sad stories and tools published over the past twenty years, this problem would be behind us.
Kickstarter is filled with overnight success stories—from Pebble to Ouya—who turned brilliant ideas into millions of dollars and national exposure. It’s easy to attribute their success to amazing products, the rise of crowdfunding, and a magic dose of virality.
If your startup is looking for an Angel investor, does it makes sense to present your plan to flocks of Angels, and assume that at least one will swoop down and scoop you up? In reality, hitting large numbers of Angels in multiple locations with a generic pitch is one of the least productive approaches.
In the old days, every entrepreneur dreamed of someday taking their startup public, and making it a multi-national powerhouse. Today the rate of startups going public (IPO – Initial Public Offering) is at an all-time low, and most entrepreneurs avoid this option like the plague, knowing the process is painful, and public company executives are seen as greedy sharks.
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